SurePayroll by Paychex’s fast facts

Our star rating: 4.7 out of 5
Starting price:
$19.99/mo. + $4/user/mo.
Key features:
  • Six-month free trial.
  • Unlimited monthly payroll runs.
  • Free accounting software integration.
  • Mobile payroll app.

SurePayroll by Paychex is one of the most affordable, most fully featured payroll software options for small and midsize businesses alike. Its self-guided setup, autopilot payroll tool, award-winning customer service and six-month free trial set SurePayroll apart from pricier, less user-friendly software options on the market.

Plus, while SurePayroll by Paychex can work well for experienced business owners with bigger teams, its ease of use makes it a particularly good choice for first-time employers, single-employee businesses and new business owners unfamiliar with payroll taxes.

Below, we review SurePayroll by Paychex’s prices, pros, cons and key features to help you determine if SurePayroll by Paychex will work for your organization. We also offer top SurePayroll by Paychex alternatives if you decide SurePayroll by Paychex isn’t your ideal payroll solution.

SurePayroll by Paychex’s pricing

SurePayroll by Paychex logo.
Image: SurePayroll by Paychex

SurePayroll by Paychex has two payroll plans with predictable, straightforward pricing:

  • SurePayroll by Paychex No Tax Filing (Self-Service): $19.99 per month plus $4 per employee paid per month.
  • SurePayroll by Paychex Full-Service: $29.99 per month plus $5 per employee paid per month.

The two plans offer all the same features (explored below) and only differ in their treatment of payroll tax services:

  • With the full-service plan, SurePayroll by Paychex calculates, withholds and files all federal, state and local taxes on your behalf.
  • With the self-service plan, SurePayroll by Paychex calculates correct tax amounts, but withholding and remitting the taxes is up to you as the business owner.

Along with its low monthly base fee, SurePayroll by Paychex saves its users money by offering up to six months free for all new users, regardless of plan.

Additionally, SurePayroll by Paychex’s below-average, per-employee fee keeps business’s payroll costs particularly low relative to other top payroll providers. The following table compares SurePayroll by Paychex’s monthly costs to the monthly costs of other providers’ cheapest payroll plans.

1 employee5 employees10 employees50 employees
SurePayroll by Paychex No Tax Filing$23.99/mo.$39.99/mo.$59.99/mo.$219.99/mo.
SurePayroll by Paychex Full-Service$34.99/mo.$54.99/mo.$79.99/mo.$279.99/mo.
QuickBooks Payroll$51/mo.$75/mo.$105/mo.$345/mo.

Pricing and plan details up to date as of 1/11/2024.

SurePayroll by Paychex’s key features

Payroll features

SurePayroll by Paychex offers a full spectrum of necessary payroll features, including the following:

  • Unlimited monthly payroll runs.
  • Same-day and next-day payroll.
  • Free two-day direct deposit.
  • Simple payroll cancellations.
  • Automatic payroll runs.
Businesses can automate their payroll processes using the Auto Payroll tool.
Figure A: Businesses can automate their payroll processes using the Auto Payroll tool. Source: SurePayroll by Paychex

Additionally, SurePayroll by Paychex’s software supports both W-2 employees and 1099 contractors. With the full-service plan, SurePayroll will auto-generate and submit the following key tax forms:

  • 940 and 941.
  • W-2 and W-3.
  • 1099-NEC and 1096.

Employee benefits

SurePayroll by Paychex is owned by Paychex, an internationally renowned PEO, HR and payroll software company. SurePayroll by Paychex’s customers have access to the same world-class employee benefits providers as Paychex’s customers do.

Businesses can work with in-house brokers at the Paychex Insurance Agency to compare nationwide health insurance plans, get free quotes and sign up for their preferred plan. You won’t be charged an additional fee to integrate your health insurance provider with SurePayroll by Paychex’s payroll software — you pay the insurance premium and nothing more.

Along with health insurance, SurePayroll by Paychex partners with Paychex to give customers access to the following benefits and insurance options:

  • 401(k) retirement plans.
  • Workers’ compensation insurance.
  • Business insurance, including general liability, professional liability, business owners’ policy and umbrella insurance policies.

HR tools

While SurePayroll by Paychex is primarily a payroll tool, it can also work for small-business owners who need payroll software with HR basics. With both SurePayroll by Paychex plans, business owners can access a library of labor-law posters, HR-related how-to guides and crucial forms that help businesses stay legally compliant.

SurePayroll by Paychex also includes automatic state new-hire reporting with both plans. Users can also access on-demand pre-employment tools as needed for an additional fee:

  • Background checks.
  • Drug screening.
  • Skills testing.
  • Behavioral assessments.

You can also opt for personal development inventories, which help existing employees inventory their skills, receive feedback and set goals to improve.

SEE: Payroll Processing Checklist (TechRepublic Premium)

For a more comprehensive HR experience, users can add SureHR, a personalized HR service starting at $25 a month plus an extra $5 per employee per month.

Time tracking

While SurePayroll by Paychex doesn’t have a built-in time-tracking solution, it does integrate with a time and attendance software program called stratustime at no additional cost.

Through stratustime, employees can clock in and out from mobile devices, laptops and point-of-sale systems (among other methods). Hours sync automatically to SurePayroll by Paychex’s system to ensure hourly employees get paid correctly every pay period. Also, stratustime lets managers and employees track sick leave and PTO, request and approve time off, and schedule shifts.

Its plans start at $4 per employee per month, but if stratustime isn’t a good option for you, SurePayroll by Paychex also syncs with other affordable online time-tracking solutions:

  • EasyTimeClock.
  • Shift2Work.
  • WebTimeClock.
  • TimeTrex.

Accounting software integration

Notably, SurePayroll by Paychex syncs with most of the best accounting solutions for small and midsize businesses at no additional cost. Top accounting integrations include FreshBooks, QuickBooks Online, Sage 50, Zoho Books and Xero.

SurePayroll by Paychex pros

  • Below-average starting price.
  • Well-reviewed mobile payroll app for both employers and employees.
  • Automatic payroll runs with no monthly limits.
  • Integrates with top accounting software solutions.
  • Basic HR tools included with both plans.
  • Very responsive U.S.-based customer support team.

SurePayroll by Paychex cons

  • No 24/7 customer service (extended weekday and some weekend hours available).
  • Two plans could be less scalable for growing businesses.
  • Domestic payroll only (no international payroll options).
  • Limited employee self-service features.

If SurePayroll by Paychex isn’t ideal for you, check out these alternatives

SurePayroll by Paychex offers an excellent slew of features, especially for its below-average pricing. But choosing payroll software is about more than just price: You need software that fits not only your budget but also your workforce’s unique needs, your company’s plans for growth and your tech stack’s overall functionality.

The three payroll companies below are our top recommendations for consumers who don’t think SurePayroll by Paychex is their perfect match. For more SurePayroll by Paychex alternatives, see our list of the year’s best payroll software for small businesses.

Top SurePayroll by Paychex alternatives: Comparison table

VendorStarting base priceStarting per-payee priceBenefits administrationHealth benefits optionsLearn more
SurePayroll by Paychex$19.99/mo.$4/person/mo.YesYesTry SurePayroll
Gusto$40/mo.$6/person/mo.YesYesTry Gusto
Patriot$17/mo.$4/person/mo.NoNoTry Patriot
Paychex$39/mo.$5/person/mo.YesYesTry Paychex

Plan and pricing details up to date as of 1/11/2024.

Gusto: Most comprehensive SurePayroll by Paychex alternative

Gusto logo.
Image: Gusto

Our star rating: 4.6 out of 5

Gusto is one of the most robust, most popular payroll programs for all business sizes and types in the U.S. At $40 a month along with a $6 per-employee fee, Gusto is definitely a pricier choice than SurePayroll by Paychex — but with three plans and more third-party integrations, Gusto also offers more flexibility.

Like SurePayroll by Paychex , Gusto is extremely easy to set up and automate. Its user-friendliness and completely automated payroll runs make it well-suited to first-time employers. On the other hand, Gusto offers several key tools that SurePayroll lacks, such as built-in reporting, employee self-service portals and basic onboarding for new hires.

With custom admin permissions and comprehensive automation, Gusto is also more accessible to growing companies with more complex team structures.

Learn more by reading our Gusto review.

Patriot Payroll: Most budget-friendly SurePayroll by Paychex alternative

Patriot logo.
Image: Patriot

Our star rating: 4.3 out of 5

At $17 per month plus $4 per employee per month, Patriot Payroll is one of the only top payroll solutions with a lower starting price point than SurePayroll by Paychex. Like SurePayroll by Paychex, Patriot has both a self-service and full-service plan with automatic state, federal and local payroll tax filing. Both providers are also very simple to set up and offer award-winning domestic customer service.

SEE: Payroll Services Comparison Tool (TechRepublic Premium)

Unlike SurePayroll by Paychex, Patriot offers its own add-on time-tracking service, accounting software and basic HR solution. However, Patriot doesn’t offer workers’ compensation insurance or employee benefits, and while Patriot allows for workers’ comp integration, it doesn’t include automated benefits administration.

Learn more by reading our Patriot review.

Paychex: Best bundled HR and payroll alternative

Paychex logo.
Image: Paychex

Our star rating: 4 out of 5

As SurePayroll by Paychex’s parent company, Paychex shares plenty of its best features, including automatic payroll runs, W-2 and 1099 form access and well-reviewed mobile apps. But Paychex includes a few more features than SurePayroll in its base plan, such as multiple employee pay options (like paper checks) and employee onboarding tools.

Paychex works better than SurePayroll by Paychex if your company wants an HCM-style, HR-and-payroll solution, not just a straightforward payroll tool. However, as a more comprehensive solution, Paychex is also more expensive — especially when it comes to additional fees for key services.

Learn more by reading our Paychex review.

Review methodology

To review SurePayroll by Paychex as accurately as possible, we set up the software so we could test it ourselves. On top of our hands-on experience, we relied on communication with sales representatives, videos and verified third-party reviews to craft a well-rounded review that took multiple perspectives into account.

To calculate SurePayroll by Paychex’s star rating, we relied on an internal algorithm that scores brands based on their pricing (weighted to 25% percent of the total score), features (weighted to 25%), customer service (weighted to 15%), ease of use (weighted to 15%) and expert opinion (weighted to 10%). Learn more by reading our comprehensive payroll methodology statement.

Frequently asked questions

How much does it cost to use SurePayroll by Paychex ?

SurePayroll by Paychex’s starting cost is $19.99 per month plus $4 per person paid per month. This self-service plan includes automatic payroll tax calculation, free two-day direct deposit, online paystub access and automatic payroll runs.

SurePayroll by Paychex’s comprehensive full-service plan costs $29.99 per month plus $5 per person paid per month. The plan includes everything in the Self-Service plan plus automatic tax administration on a state, federal and local level.

Is SurePayroll by Paychex owned by Paychex?

Yes, SurePayroll by Paychex is owned by Paychex. As a result, SurePayroll by Paychex is able to offer Paychex’s PEO-quality benefits options that would otherwise remain inaccessible to small-business owners on a budget.

Does SurePayroll by Paychex integrate with QuickBooks?

Yes, SurePayroll by Paychex integrates with QuickBooks Online. SurePayroll by Paychex also integrates with accounting programs like Xero, Zoho Books, AccountEdge, Sage 50, Less Accounting and FreshBooks.

Does SurePayroll by Paychex offer direct deposit?

Yes, SurePayroll by Paychex offers direct deposit. Both the full-service and self-service SurePayroll by Paychex plans include free two-day direct deposit.

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Stay up to date on the latest in technology with Daily Tech Insider. We bring you news on industry-leading companies, products, and people, as well as highlighted articles, downloads, and top resources. You’ll receive primers on hot tech topics that will help you stay ahead of the game. Delivered Weekdays